In the kitchen, get the small stuff working for you and everything else falls into place. That means moving away from dry chicken and broccoli, and realising that food can be healthy, in line with your particular body goals, and enjoyable. 

Niall Kirkland founded The Good Bite with exactly that in mind.

“It’s about taking joy in the small things, and finding twists to make them better,” he says. “What’s the point of living healthily if you can’t enjoy life anymore? You can only do the work and follow your journey if it’s a rewarding experience. I’m no saint, but you don’t have to be to live well.”

Try These Healthy, High-Protein Comfort Food Recipes | Men's Fitness UK

Steak Potato Nachos  

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

For the nachos:

  • 1kg maris piper potatoes
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper

For the toppings: 

  • Sirloin steak
  • Small amount of oil or butter, to fry the steak
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 60g grated cheddar
  • 60g grated mozzarella
  • Salsa, to garnish
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Peel and slice your potatoes into very thin 1cm thick slices, then rinse with cold water and pat dry using a tea towel or paper towels.
  3. Transfer the slices to a large mixing bowl, then add olive oil, cumin, smoked paprika, garlic granules, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper, and mix well, until the potato slices are coated in spices.
  4. Now spread the slices over two baking trays, so you can cook them simultaneously, and bake for 10-12 minutes.
  5. Allow the sirloin steak to come to room temperature. Lightly season with salt and pepper, heat a cast iron pan to very hot, add a small amount of oil or butter to the pan, and add the steak.
  6. Sear for 2-3 minutes on each side for medium-rare, then remove from the pan. Leave the steak to rest for a few minutes, then slice it up.
  7. Now, build your nacho bake. Nachos first, then steak, then onions and pepper, light cheddar and mozzarella, then bake for 15-20 minutes. Et voila!

Per serving:
Kcals: 464, Protein: 28g, Carbs: 47g, Fat: 16g

Try These Healthy, High-Protein Comfort Food Recipes | Men's Fitness UK

Plant-Based Aubergine Masala  

Ingredients (serves 2)

For the aubergine:

  • 1 tsp 100% coconut oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 aubergines, chopped into large chunks

For the masala sauce:

  • 1 tbsp 100% coconut oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic and ginger, combined
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp coriander
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 200g plum tomatoes
  • 250ml vegetable stock
  • 200ml light coconut milk
  • Handful chopped coriander

To serve:

  • 125g basmati rice, per person
  • Handful chopped coriander

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Add 1 tsp coconut oil, plus 1 tsp turmeric and cumin to the aubergine, and mix until coated.
  3. Fry your aubergine on a high heat for 10 minutes, flipping to make sure all sides are charred (you may need to do this stage in batches).
  4. Once the aubergine is charred, transfer to a baking dish and bake for 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp of coconut oil in a large, deep pan and fry the red onion for 5 minutes. Then add garlic and ginger, and fry for 2 minutes. Add the plum tomatoes, break up well, and fry for 5 minutes.
  6. Add your spices, stir in well, then add a splash of water before stirring again and leaving to simmer for 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens again. This would be a good time to cook your rice.
  7. Now, add in your baked aubergine, stir well, then add your vegetable stock, coconut milk and coriander. Leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring regularly until your curry thickens.
  8. Serve with your rice, topped with coriander.

Per serving:
Kcals: 379, Protein: 8.1g, Carbs: 55g, Fat: 12.5g

Try These Healthy, High-Protein Comfort Food Recipes | Men's Fitness UK

Sweet and Spicy Chicken and Rice Traybake

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 50g sweet chilli sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 600g chicken thighs
  • 250g basmati rice
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp sesame seed oil
  • Handful coriander
  • Handful cashews
  • Handful sesame seeds

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the sweet chilli sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar and chilli flakes.
  3. Slash your chicken thighs and mix in with the sauce. Leave to marinade for 30 minutes (or more, if you have time).
  4. Rinse the basmati rice and add to a large baking dish, along with the chicken stock.
  5. Add chicken thighs and onion to the dish, making sure the chicken thighs don’t become submerged in the liquid.
  6. Crush fresh garlic onto the skin of the chicken thighs, and pour any remaining sweet and spicy sauce you have left over the chicken thighs.
  7. Cover the baking dish with one large sheet of tin foil – seal the edges tightly, or the rice won’t cook properly.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes.
  9. Once 40 minutes is up, remove the tin foil cover, drizzle sesame seed oil over the chicken thighs and rice, and bake for another 10-15 minutes, allowing the chicken thighs to crisp up.
  10. Garnish with coriander, cashews and sesame seeds.

Per serving:
Kcals: 638, Protein: 37g, Carbs: 53g, Fat: 27g

Try These Healthy, High-Protein Comfort Food Recipes | Men's Fitness UK

Cheat’s one-pot lasagne

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 500g beef mince (5% fat)
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 500g passata
  • 1 tbsp Italian herbs or oregano
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • Small bunch fresh basil, chopped
  • 10 lasagne sheets, broken in half
  • 125g mozzarella
  • 15g parmesan, grated

Method

  1. In a large, deep pan or casserole dish, heat olive oil, then add onion and celery.
  2. Fry for 5 minutes, until onions are soft. Season lightly and add garlic, then fry for 1 minute.
  3. Add beef mince and cook until brown. Once cooked, remove everything from the pan and set aside.
  4. Add chopped tomatoes, a splash of water and Italian herbs to the pan.
  5. Season to taste and stir well, leave to simmer for 10 minutes, allowing the chopped tomatoes to cook down.
  6. Add beef mince back to the pan, as well as the passata, red wine vinegar, basil and roughly 150ml of water.
  7. Stir again, then add the lasagne sheets. Mix the sheets into the sauce, cover and leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the lasagne sheets are cooked.
  8. Now sprinkle cheese onto your lasagne and either cover again and allow cheese to melt, or bake in the oven for 5 minutes.
  9. Garnish with the chopped basil and parmesan.

Per serving:
Kcals: 501, Protein: 41g, Carbs: 41g, Fat: 17g

 

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